A local veteran is being recognized nationally for ensuring multiple First Nations have clean drinking water.

Originally from Ceg-A-Kin Nakoda Nation, Deon Hassler has been named the 2019 recipient of the National First Nations Water Leadership Award by Indigenous Services Canada.

"I always felt there was something I needed to do for our community,” he said. “It’s just something that’s close to my heart and making sure our people have safe drinking water."

Hassler has been a circuit rider technician for the File Hills Qu'appelle Tribal Council for six years, and previously worked as a water treatment plant operator for the U.S. Navy and a plant operator for Ceg-A-Kin.

He oversees fourteen water treatment plants in 11 First Nations in southern Saskatchewan, and mentors new operators.

Hassler says he will continue to train the next generation of water treatment plant operators and says the role is in high demand right across the country.